Croydon has been riding ‘on the crest of a wave’ this September, with many events, inspired by Andy Warhol, put into reality by The Rise Gallery in St George’s Walk (ran by the amicable Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison). There are original pieces by Warhol and Banksy  exhibited there.

I arrived back in Croydon, from France, in time to join in and enjoy a couple of lectures (25th & 26th, the last 2 of 6) about Warhol, both presented in the intimate, atmospheric theatre in The Spread Eagle, presented by Joanna Straczowski. She was passionate and knowledgeable about Andy Warhol (1928-1987) and Pop Art, inviting the audience to express their own ideas, leading to thoughtful discussion.

I have always dismissed Warhol and his soup, coca cola and brillo pad pieces but I was enlightened in discovering his philosophy. ‘I want to be a machine’ and his detachment from personal imput to much of his work. As a reserved graphic designer originally it made sense. He moved on to subversion and transgression…..

I had no idea he had so many music connections. He managed and co-produced  The Velvet Underground. After the band’s first album Warhol and Lou Reed disagreed about direction. In 1989 Reed and John Cale reunited and recorded a concept album ‘Songs for Drella’ –a tribute to Warhol.

RCA records commissoned Warhol to design album covers. He designed the cover for the Stones’ ‘Sticky Fingers’ (1971) and was a friend of Mick Jagger. There is a fabulous limited print of Mick by Warhol in The Rise.

Bowie recorded ‘Andy Warhol’ for Hunky Dory (1971)  Warhol had connections with The Clash, Joe Strummer and The Ramones.

Warhol was, though, a social climber, gathering celebrities into his studio, ‘The Factory’ for monetary and fame gain. ‘Making money is art’, he said, and ‘Good business is best art’. (1975)

Not my idea, and he still holds a fairly low position in my vision of what art is, but the discovering more about him was inspiring. I really feel it in the air……Croydon is beginning to have soul!!

Patricia Bancroft.